It’s been over 4 years now since I first came across your packs. It’s been an interesting past few years; definitely a stark contrast to my first 27. I grew up in rural Illinois in a modest household and never had much of an opportunity to travel or experience the outdoors. Up until 2012, I’d never seen a mountain, an ocean, or even stepped foot on an airplane. I had been to 8 states and had only ventured out of the country into Canada to see family just north of Minnesota. My father had told me stories from his 20’s and 30’s about his days living in Canada and Montana. Stories of hiking, rock climbing, fishing, hunting, and exploring. As entertaining as these stories were, I had never considered myself to have much in common with my father.
In March of 2012, one of my best friends asked me if I might be interested in hiking out to and camping at Havasupai Falls. The previous few months of traveling for work with my new job had started to slightly give me the adventure bug and after a few minutes spent on Google viewing images of Havasupai, I knew I wanted to go. I knew I would need gear for my hike so I stopped by the local REI which a friend recommended I visit to look for gear.
I grabbed hiking boots, a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and just about everything else I needed. The sales person then asked what kind of backpack I was using to carry all the gear to the campsite with. In my excitement I hadn’t even thought about how I was going to get all of my gear down to the campsite in one backpack. As I had never owned a hiking or camping backpack, I asked them for a recommendation. As I walked over to the backpack section the sales person walked right up to the Osprey selection and grabbed one off the shelf. “This is what you need” they said. After the sales person described all of the different straps, pockets, zippers, etc., they loaded the pack with some weight and I put it on and adjusted the straps. I was amazed that even with all the weight, how comfortable it felt to wear. After the short tryout at the store, I bought my first Osprey Pack. A large blue Aether 70. Stuffed to the brim (with even more clipped to the outside) I tackled my first backpacking trip hiking 10 miles in and 10 miles out at Havasupai. The views were amazing. As I was immersed in the wild hiking into the Grand Canyon, discovering the lush oasis in the desert, and seeing water cascade hundreds of feet off a cliff into a blue-green pool, I was hooked.
Over the last 4 years I have now been to 40 states, 15 countries, and continue to see more every year. I have truly developed a passion for the outdoors, hiking, camping, and photography. And as my wanderlust has taken hold and still continues to grow I’ve switched boots, cameras, clothing, and just about everything else. But whether I go out for an hour, a day, or even longer, one thing has always been constant. I always bring my Osprey pack.
Thanks for being there on all of my adventures and for the adventures still to be had.